Our Favorite Segments

Colorado Trail

These are some of our favorite segments from our 2017 ride! 

segment 3

Segment 3

Little Scraggy River Trailhead to Rolling Creek Trailhead

  • 12.2 Miles
  • Water Availability: Great
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Camping: Good places to camp
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: We highly recommend riding this segment! This segment is beautiful, shady and has water - which is a relief from the previous segment. The terrain is great, and there are nice places to camp.

Concerns: This is a very popular mountain biking trail. Most bikers that we met on trail were very courteous, but always be aware of your horse and the trail ahead of you. 

Trail Description: Segment 3 starts at Little Scraggy Trailhead. This trail is heaven sent after the dry and hot Segment 2. We found this trail to be very popular for mountain bikers. Most of the bikers we came across on trail were very courteous! Just be aware of your horses and your surroundings.

There is not much climbing in this segment, which ends at the Rolling Creek Trailhead. But don't worry! If you are looking for climbs, here comes Segment 4!

segment 12

Segment 12

Clear Creek Road to Silver Creek Trailhead

  • 18.5 Miles
  • Water Availability: Good
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Camping: Some good camping spots
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: After a few segments that allowed us to take it "easy," we started out this segment with a 5 mile climb up approximately 3,000 ft. In our 2017 ride, we camped at Pine Creek. It was one of the most beautiful locations we set up our camp. After Pine Creek, there is another climb up and then a lengthy descent over the remaining miles.

Concerns: This segment has an elevation gain of 4,866 ft and elevation loss of 4,364 ft. It is a long climb up, then a long way down.

Trail Description: Segment 12 starts at Clear Creek Road. The campground right next to Clear Creek and is a great place to set up and camp with horses. You can cross the creek over a steel bridge. No bicycles are allowed on this segment as you enter the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. 

The next few miles are spent climbing almost 3,000 ft up Waverly Mountain, until you continue back down the switchbacks on the other side.

In 2017, we camped at Pine Creek. Though, we have heard that Rainbow Lake a little bit off trail around mile 8, is a great place to camp, as well.

Continue on climbing back up Mount Harvard before starting another descent. You will also reach the ridge of Mount Columbia, before a descending down the remaining 6 miles.

segment 17

Segment 17

Sargents Mesa to CO HWY 114

  • 20.4 Miles
  • Water Availability: Very little
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
  • Camping: Baldy Lake (intersection is at mile 6.9)
  • Trailer Access: No trailer access at Sargents Mesa. Good trailer access at HWY 114

Trail Overview: The trail of this segment offers a nice ride and is not too difficult. Though, water is scarce. Baldy Lake offers a reliable source of water. It is half a mile off trail, but worth it if you need to plan a spot to camp. Baldy Lake was one of our favorite camping spots! It is such a beautiful place to stop and camp. This segment drops a little bit below 10,000 ft in elevation toward the end of the segment as you reach HWY 114.

Concerns: The only reliable water source is at Baldy Lake mile 6.9 of this segment. Motorized vehicles are allowed on this segment.

There is no trailer access at Sargents Mesa! 

Trail Description: Segment 17 starts at Sargents Mesa continuing to follow the Continental Divide. At mile 6.9, you will find the intersection that will take you to Baldy Lake. Baldy Lake is half a mile off trail, but it is worth it if you need a place to camp for the night. This is the last reliable water source on trail. You might find water further along, but this varies greatly from year to year depending on how much rain the area has gotten. 

segment 19

Segment 19

Saguache Park Road to Eddiesville Trailhead

  • 13.7 Miles
  • Water Availability: Good
  • Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult
  • Camping: Good camping spots at the end of the segment. There are even a few livestock pens.
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: The terrain on this trail was beautiful! We do like a little bit of a challenge, and there were some nice sections to this trail. 

Concerns: Crossing Cochetopa Creek and some narrow sections.

Trail Description: Segment 19 starts at Saguache Park Road. If the rain has been good that year, you may find some seasonal water at the beginning of this segment. In 2017, we were able to find a good campsite with seasonal water stream. 

The beginning of this segment is open terrain. When we reached Cochetopa Creek at mile 9.7, there was a rock formation that you go up over the west bank of the creek. It was muddy and a little challenging to ride through, but all the horses did well. 

The trail gradually climbs over the last few miles. We rode along some narrow ledges as we made our way to the end of the segment. 

Eddiesville Trailhead was where we camped. There is a creek by the Trailhead, and we set up camp close by. We found some livestock pens, but it was more convenient for us to highline all of our horses. The livestock pens are located to the left of the trailhead, which is the direction if you were continuing to the next segment. There are signs that point in the direction of the pens.

segment 21

Segment 21

San Luis Pass to Spring Creek Trailhead

  • 14.8 Miles
  • Water Availability: Good
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Camping: Possible camp spots in the forested areas
  • Trailer Access: There is no trailer access at San Luis Pass. 

Trail Overview: This trail has a lot of ups and downs. You will gain multiple saddles and get to see the gorgeous views of the Continental Divide. The end of the trail takes you over Snow Mesa before descending down to Spring Creek Pass Trailhead at CO HWY 149. 

Concerns: This is a strenuous segment. There are rock slides and steep ridges along this segment. You will want to make sure you are not on Snow Mesa with any thunderstorms approaching because you will be above treeline for 3.3 miles. 

Trail Description: Segment 21 starts at San Luis Pass. The trail immediately starts to climb up to take you over a saddle with gorgeous views of the Continental Divide. 

After the first climb, the trail steeply descends down to the mountain drainages. In 2017, we found the most beautiful camp spot just after descending from the saddle. It was by far one of our favorite places that we camped at along the trail.

The trail then heads back up to gain another saddle, then descends before climbing even more. You will reach the high point of the segment and then continue onto the 3.3 mile section of Snow Mesa. You will be above treeline for this whole section, so be weary of traveling when there is a threat of thunderstorms.

The last two miles of the trail is spent descending down from Snow Mesa to CO HWY 149 which you will cross to get to Spring Creek Pass Trailhead. 

segment 24

Segment 24

Stony Pass Trailhead to Molas Pass

  • 20.2 Miles
  • Water Availability: Great
  • Difficulty: Moderate - Very Difficult
  • Camping: Possible camping spots after descending down to treeline. Great camping at the end of the segment.
  • Trailer Access: Difficult trailer access to Stony Pass Trailhead. Good trailer access at Molas Pass

Trail Overview: This was by far our favorite segment! It was breathtakingly, beautiful! But we would not recommend this trail for unexperienced trail riders. In fact, some people were shocked we took horses on this trail.

Concerns: This is one of the most difficult sections. If you are heading South, you will have a 4,000 ft descent over approximately 8 miles. (half of that elevation loss happens in the first 3 miles!) If you are heading North, well prepare for a strenuous climb. 

We came across snow in this segment, narrow trail along rock walls, and steep switchbacks.

Trail Description: Segment 24 starts at Stony Pass Trailhead. We could argue that this is one of the most beautiful segments of the whole trail! The views are worth it, but horse travel is not recommended for those inexperienced with mountain trail. 

The first 6.5 miles you are traveling along the Continental Divide Trail before you say your last goodbye and part ways towards Durango. The trail stays above 12,000 ft throughout this whole section. We encountered a lot of snow in our 2017 ride (end of July). 

Upon parting ways from the Continental Divide Trail, the Colorado Trails starts a steep descent. Within about 3 miles, you will have dropped down 2,000 ft. in elevation. Another 2,000 fts in elevation will be lost over the next 5.5 miles or so.

The trail follows some railroad tracks for a small portion of the segment before crossing the Animas River at mile 15.2. 

Get ready for some more climbing and a ton more switchbacks as the trail starts it's way back up 2,000 ft.